DDaT leaders say staff are ‘not buying into’ Net Zero

There is a disconnect between leaders and people on the ground when it comes to reaching Net Zero due to a lack of clarity on the importance of sustainability targets, new research finds.

In the recently published Greener Government,  41% Digital Data and Technology (DDaT) leaders said there is a lack of communication to employees on the importance of Net Zero within their departments, hindering progress. A further 20% admit that junior staff don’t receive sustainability training. 

A lack of clarity around Net Zero leadership roles and expectations is a large part of the problem, the report notes, with 24% of DDaT leaders stating they do not have the right Net Zero champions in their departments.

This has led to limited guidance being provided to employees on how to prioritise sustainability goals, highlighted by the fact that 27% of those surveyed said that employees are ‘not buying into’ Net Zero. 

John Seabourn, Chief Digital & Information Officer, North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA), said this is harming efforts to create a collective feeling of positivity and momentum towards Net Zero. “You can’t deliver anything without having the right people, with the right attitude and the right values, in place first,” he says. “The people element of sustainability is all about embedding it in the decision-making, in the ways that we’re working - making it the day-to-day norm.” 

He adds that people find it hard to buy into most types of change, concluding: “The education piece is key across the Civil Service, because we must constantly state the message: what we are trying to achieve, and why.”

Andrew Goodman, Workplace Transformation Director at DWP attests to this and highlighted the need for a unified approach to Net Zero through shared priorities and a common language. “Digital leaders and sustainability leaders don’t always speak the same language, or don’t even have the right priorities or shared goals. I don’t think this is a mismatch of ambition; I think it’s about deliverability. Some digital contracts are long, so actually being able to shift the dial takes time.”

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